Thermal control of sequential on-surface transformation of a hydrocarbon molecule on a copper surface

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • Shigeki Kawai
  • Ville Haapasilta
  • Benjamin D. Lindner
  • Kazukuni Tahara
  • Peter Spijker
  • Jeroen A. Buitendijk
  • Rémy Pawlak
  • Tobias Meier
  • Yoshito Tobe
  • Adam S. Foster
  • Ernst Meyer

Research units

  • Japan Science and Technology Agency
  • Osaka University
  • Meiji University
  • University of Basel
  • Kanazawa University
  • National Institute for Materials Science Tsukuba


On-surface chemical reactions hold the potential for manufacturing nanoscale structures directly onto surfaces by linking carbon atoms in a single-step reaction. To fabricate more complex and functionalized structures, the control of the on-surface chemical reactions must be developed significantly. Here, we present a thermally controlled sequential three-step chemical transformation of a hydrocarbon molecule on a Cu(111) surface. With a combination of high-resolution atomic force microscopy and first-principles computations, we investigate the transformation process in step-by-step detail from the initial structure to the final product via two intermediate states. The results demonstrate that surfaces can be used as catalysing templates to obtain compounds, which cannot easily be synthesized by solution chemistry.


Original languageEnglish
Article number12711
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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